The Plagiarists are presenting “Some Like it Red”, written by Artistic Director Gregory Peters and directed by Jack Dugan Carpenter in the Berger Park Coach House along Lake Michigan’s north shore. Peters attempts to combine the 1959 comedy “Some Like it Hot” and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”. Unfortunately any similarities to Billy Wilder’s classic and the Bard are purely coincidental.
You know a play is in trouble when its soundtrack of 80’s songs are the best part of the night. The story takes place in 1985 aboard a cruise ship. An explosion occurs while an all-girl trio, Violet (Jessica Saxvik), Rose Christina Casano) and Daisy (Sara Jean McCarthy) are performing in the ballroom. The girls are washed ashore to the Albanian People’s Republic that is being overrun by a bubbling group of soldiers.
They witness the murder of a resistance fighter by the Army as it attempts to take over the mythical country. Disguised as male servants to avoid being recognized and captured, they work at the house of the overthrown Albanian leader. This sets the stage for a load of bad jokes and a plot that stumbles along looking for a merciful ending.
Carpenter is plagued by a weak cast that has only a few good actors, Saxvik, Derik Marcussen and Elaine Small, and a script that just isn’t funny. The rest of the ten-member cast is stuck with some awful jokes that mostly fall flat. It’s more like Gem and the Holograms meet the Marx Brothers in the 1933 comedy “Duck Soup”. Interestingly McCathy plays a Harpo Marx-type. She gives it a good turn but adds nothing to the story although its generates a few moments of light comedy.
The play drags on for just over two hours with an unnecessary intermission. This might have worked as a one-hour skit with more music filling in between scenes. At one point Violet is asked to “get to the point”. I asked myself that all night.
“Some Like it Red” continues at Berger Park, 6205 N. Sheridan road, Chicago, through Sat., March 17. For tickets and information call 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com